Glossary

Spring onions

Spring onion

Pronounce it: sp-ring un-yun

Also known as scallions or green onions, spring onions are in fact very young onions, harvested before the bulb has had a chance to swell. Both the long, slender green tops and the small white bulb are edible, and are good either raw or cooked. They have a similar flavour to onions, but are much milder.

Availability

All year round, and easy to grow in a vegetable patch from seed.

Choose the best

Go for spring onions with firm, unblemished bulbs and bright green perky leaves. Avoid those that are slimy or wilting. The skin covering a spring onion' bulb can be either white or deep red fading to white at the roots - there's no significant difference in taste. Similarly, the bulb can be quite pronounced or more like a leek in shape, with no noticeable swelling; again, this has no impact on flavour.

Prepare it

Wash, then trim off the root as well as any ragged ends at the top. Slice the bulb into rounds. Cut the green tops across (kitchen scissors are good for this) or lengthways with a knife, then lengthways again, according to what shape you'd like. If you want to make the tops into a garnish, cut into slim lengths, as above, then stand in ice cold water for 30 minutes.

Store it

In a perforated bag in the fridge. Spring onions don't last as long as onions, so use within four or five days.

Alternatives

Try shallot.

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